Frightful, a peregrine falcon, has spent most of her life depending on a human and must now learn how to survive in the wild on her own.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In this excerpt from Valerie Ormond’s Believing in Horses, Sadie and her horse Lucky get caught in a storm.
Have students read this excerpt from “Believing in Horses” after they finish page 20, when Frightful returns to Sam, to generate a discussion on the strong bonds between humans and animals. How does Sadie’s relationship with her horse compare to Sam’s relationship with Frightful? In what way are their relationships different from the typical relationships humans have with animals? How are Sam and Sadie able to develop close relationships with these animals?
In the fable “The House Dog and the Wolf,” a wolf must make the choice between comfort and freedom.
Have students read this short story after they finish page 42, when Frightful struggles to be a mother to Chup’s chicks, in order to explore some of Frightful’s challenges in the wild. Ask students to use Terp’s retelling of Aesop’s fable to discuss the pros and cons of Frightful being a somewhat domesticated hawk in the wild. How does this cause problems for her as she attempts to provide for Chup’s chicks? How do the wolf and the dog differ in character in Terp’s story? Do students think Frightful can lead a successful life in the wild? Why or why not? Is she better off struggling in the wild or returning to her familiar life as Sam’s pet?
In the informational text, “Of Feathers, Fat, and Freezing,” Donna DeVoe DiFolco discusses how chickadees are able to survive freezing temperatures.
Introduce this informational text after page 62, when Frightful doesn’t fly south for the winter, to explore how birds survive cold conditions. Ask students to compare peregrine falcons to chickadees. Why do peregrine falcons fly south, but chickadees do not? Why doesn’t Frightful fly south and what dangers does she face because of this?
In “Tiny Plastic, Big Problem,” Alison Pearce Stevens discusses the impact that plastic has had on our world, particularly in our oceans.
Have students read this text after page 82, when Frightful burns herself on utility pole wires, to generate a discussion on the human impact on the environment. How does plastic in the ocean negatively impact the animals that come in contact with it? How does this compare to how various birds are negatively impacted by utility poles? How are humans responsible for both? How could humans decrease the number of animals that are hurt by utility pole wires and plastic?
In the informational text “Marley Dias: The 13-Year-Old Author Who Made a Difference,” Barrett Smith discusses the activism of a young girl who collects and donates books with black girls as the main characters.
Introduce this text after page 91, when kids write letters to the utilities president about utility poles, and ask students to discuss how kids, as young activists, can create change. How does Marley Dias create the change she wants to see? How does this compare to the steps the kids take in Frightful’s Mountain to protect birds from being electrocuted on utility pole wires? What was required for the kids in these two texts to create important change?
In Julie Tozier’s “Strong for Skeena,” a boy must be strong for his sled dog after she is seriously injured.
Have students read this short story, about a boy and his sled dog, once they have read up to page 159 in Frightful’s Mountain, in order to generate a discussion on the theme of bravery. In the novel, Sam must take a risk for Frightful and her baby chick. Ask students to compare Sam and Frightful’s relationship with Matt and Skeena’s. How does Sam act bravely during the storm for Frightful and her chick? How does this compare to the bravery that Matt must exhibit when Skeena is injured? How do both texts emphasize the strong relationship between humans and their animal companions?
In Linda Pastan’s poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home,” a mother describes watching her daughter ride away on her bike.
Introduce this poem after page 245, when Frightful leaves Sam to migrate south, to explore what it means to leave home. Ask students to compare Sam and Frightful relationship with the relationship between a mother and a daughter in Pastan’s poem. How might Sam be perceived as Frightful’s ‘mother’? How might Frightful’s departure from home be scary for both Frightful and Sam? In the end, why does Sam encourage Frightful to migrate south?
“Home” by Anton Chekhov is a comedy about a child-parent relationship. The act of disciplining his son provokes deep philosophical thoughts and attitudes in Yevgeny Petrovitch Bykovsky.
Have students read this short story after they finish Frightful’s Mountain, in order to explore the theme of home. Why do students think that Frightful returns to Sam and her home? What makes it a home? How does this compare to how the family views their house in Brooks’ short story? How do we define the differences between a house or a habitat and a home?